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Bianca Baldi: Play-White

Rooted in the apartheid era, the racist term “play-white” connotes a black or mixed-race person who lived as a white person. South African artist Bianca Baldi draws from research on biomimicry – for instance, the use of rapid adaptive camouflage by cephalopods – and her own family history to reflect on racial passing and the instability of racial identities. She also looks to literary precedents, such as Nella Larsen’s novel ‘Passing’ (1929). In this way, her video installation ‘Play-White’ alternates between layers of visualisation and moments of discretion in order to explore questions of presence and evasion, beyond their broadly accepted representation in black and white.